easy diy: homemade sugar cubes


I came across a beginner level do-it-yourself on the adorable blog Nifty Thrifty Things: homemade sugar cubes. All you need is a little bit of time, sugar, water, and a cute candy mold or ice cube tray. Nifty Thrifty Things’ Vanessa used a heart shaped tray and was so pleased with the results, she promised to experiment with food coloring on her next go! Custom made sugar cubes are an easy, great looking addition to all those prim and proper wedding and baby showers you’ll have to throw this summer. Happy crafting! — Katie D.

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strangely appealing: straight line designs


Don’t be fooled by the name: Straight Line Designs is anything but. The Vancouver based brainchild of designer Judson Beaumont, Straight Line Designs has been creating wildly fantastic furniture for a quarter of a decade. These one-of-a-kind pieces are packed with personality and bring me to that horrible consumer dilemma: Why can’t I have them all!? If I had to choose, I think I’d have to crown the squid tables as my favorites. Straight Line Designs has also been commissioned to design rooms and special pieces for children’s hospitals, libraries, and, as if I already didn’t love them enough, they also made a Darth Vader Bear. — Katie D.

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help! busting that must

Musty blanket
Musty Blanket 2

While I was out and about a few weeks ago, I came across the prettiest vintage wool blanket in a secondhand shop. It was love at first sight – I grabbed it and wouldn’t let go until I was at the register. Sadly, while it’s lovely to look at, I failed to follow the cardinal rule of vintage shopping: always, always do a sniff test. Now, I’m stuck with a beautiful, but musty blanket – and I simply can’t cure it!

I’ve dramatically improved things by washing it in a wool shampoo (an excellent thing to have on hand – wash on warm, delicate cycle, and air dry). I’ve tried hanging it out to air dry for a couple of days. I’ve Febreezed and I’ve Lysol’ed and it’s all been to no avail. The biggest degree of improvement, oddly, seems to have come from accidentally leaving it in the trunk of my car for a week in hot summer weather. Something about baking in the heat for so long seems to have helped quite a bit.

I’d really love to banish the rest of this funk and enjoy this beautiful find…have any of you encountered this problem? I’d love any tips or tricks you have to share! –Becki S.

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eco-friendly party idea II – frost your party glasses!


Last year I had quite a few outdoor parties, and went through a lot of cups, utensils, and napkins. You name it, it probably got thrown away after one use. Ugh. I decided to cut down (some more!) on disposable glasses, but after losing two somewhat-expensive wine glasses at a lively party, I knew I needed to find another solution. So, I picked up a dozen glass goblets from a local second-hand store and designated them “outdoor only” use. But their “mis-matchiness” bothered me and I wanted a way to tie them together. Then it came to me – frost them! I ordered some etching liquid online and dipped the glasses in the solution, and presto – matching outdoor drinkware! While the etching liquid is a little tricky, and not very forgiving, I got the hang of it after a few glasses. Now, if one happens gets broken, it will be inexpensive to replace and I don’t have to worry if it’s exactly the same style as the others. Just frost and it will instantly become part of the set! — Rebecca F.

Photo credit: Rebecca Firlik

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do you play summer yard games?

RLHyde Croquet Flickr

There’s nothing like a trip home to spark a fierce bout of nostalgia. This past weekend, a short visit to my parents’ out in the suburbs served not only as a brief respite from the congestion of the city, but also as an invitation for the most bittersweet of childhood nostalgias for this city girl: yard nostalgia. The wistful longing for summer nights spent running around barefoot on freshly cut grass. As kids my sister, brother and I would hang around outside with the neighborhood kids playing all sorts of yard games. A favorite was croquet. Even though we didn’t know the rules, we’d often get the set out and knock the bright balls around with the colorful mallets. Bocce was another we played, albeit with our own rules, that has become popular in the city, even with its lack of yard space. Some bars and apartment complexes have designated areas for the sport, but nothing compares to the beauty of an expansive yard in the summertime. If I had one, I’d be right back at it, and would love to introduce some giant, yard-approved versions of table games, like Jenga, which can be made according to this how-to at Instructables, or even this larger-than-life game of Scrabble, found at Sunset.com. Click here to read about an Ohio couple who made an even larger paver Scrabble board in their backyard. How cool is that? Readers, do you play summer yard games? — Sarah C.

photo by Flickr member RLHyde

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